Inspecting the exterior of a house is much more than just inspecting for curb appeal. Several components of an exterior inspection can have adverse effects on a home’s foundation and structure and its ability to shed water away from the home efficiently. While conducting an inspection of the exterior, I pay special attention to the grading, drainage, and the condition of the eaves, soffits, and fascia.
Negative grading towards the house increases the potential for moisture accumulation around and beneath the foundation. Where possible, a positive grade or slope of six inches for the first six to ten feet will help reduce and possibly eliminate the detrimental effects of moisture buildup.
Water is the most destructive force your home will face; just look at what Mother Nature did with the Grand Canyon. Properly managing water drainage around your house is paramount. Gutters, downspouts, landscaping, and carefully thought out vegetation can aid in removing water from the perimeter of your home’s foundation. “What can I do?” you ask. Make sure you have properly installed gutters and downspouts that remain free of debris and landscaping and vegetation that works with your house, and not against it. The next time it rains, grab an umbrella, boots, a raincoat, and walk around inspecting how well your home manages the water falling from the sky.
Lastly, the condition of your gutters and downspouts mean nothing, if they don’t have a solid surface with which they are fastened to. Inspecting the condition of the wood trim at the eaves, soffits, and fascia is important, and keeping them painted and protected should be a chief concern.
Water aided by wind, will always find and follow the path of least resistance, sealing and protecting your home’s exterior along with properly managing water run-off will prolong the life of your home and its many components and systems.